Anorak News | Shakespeare Lite

Shakespeare Lite

by | 23rd, January 2004

‘FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLDS sitting the Shakespeare paper as part of their English test will next year have to deal with a new element – the Bard himself.

‘For 50% of the total mark, who is this?’

The Telegraph reports that the QCA, the Government’s curriculum adviser, has decided to reverse a policy to downgrade the role of Stratford’s favourite son in the paper.

Last year, for instance, pupils were asked questions that did not require them to have any knowledge of Shakey’s plays or poetry.

The preamble to one question read: ‘In Twelfth Night, what the characters wear and how they look affects the way other characters react to them.’

Pupils were then asked to write an article for a teenage magazine about fashion and body image.

Teachers welcomed the move, which will see pupils given a comprehension question on one of three plays.

‘This is a much more sensible way of finding out what students know about the Bard,’ said Mark Bousted of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

The changes, however, have come too late for this year’s exam, so pupils can expect questions like…

‘In Titus Andronicus, Titus makes a pie out of Tamora’s sons Chiron and Demetrius and serves it to their mother. Suggest a recipe that he might have used to make the pie.’

‘The three witches in Macbeth make a soup out of, among other things, eye of newt, toe of frog, wool of bat, tongue of dog. What other ingredients might they have used?’

And ‘Hamlet and Falstaff are both characters in Shakespeare plays and names of types of cigar. What other names of cigars would make good Shakespearean characters?’

The QCA is now believed to be studying plans to reintroduce numbers into maths exams.’

Posted: 23rd, January 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink